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THEMES OF ISOLATION IN SASKATCHEWAN RADIO DRAMA - page 37 / 185

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Timescape: History Plays and Isolation

31

Anna-Marie: He still pursues his endless dream, standing on the bridge of his ship, his heart rounding the last outcrop of the last fjord going to Suomi, and the image of a girl standing on a village dock – Jaanus: Anna-Marie. Anna-Marie: - waiting still. (Mitchell 95)

Thus, Anna-Marie bestows Jaanus with his (and her) final immortality. Jaanus triumphs,

somewhat, over the petty community that tried to bring him down.

Dustship Glory by Andreas Schroeder35 aired on CBC Saskatchewan Radio in

1988 (5 episodes at 15:00 each). The play is a five-episode dramatic look at Tom

Sukanen’s life, creations, demons, and downfall that was adapted from Schroeder’s 1986

novel of the same name. Schroeder based his novel on fact, but makes no claim to its

being historically accurate:

Probably up to seventy-five percent of the book needed to be "invented" in some way. Which sounds like a lot, I'm sure, but what's important is exactly where that seventy-five percent is located. And in this book it's represented by a blizzard of mostly little things, conjunctions, bridges, a lot of fine-line detail. The main ingredients of the story, or most of them anyway, remain what is conventionally known as fact. (Twigg)

Unlike Denison who, in The Romance of Canada, claimed to have sacrificed dramatic

possibility for fact, Schroeder is more interested in the epic story than the historic detail.

The play’s episodes are set up like interviews with people who knew Sukanen. Various

characters serve a narrative role by recalling their experiences with Sukanen as they

remember him years after his death. As they tell their stories, we fade into the past and

re-live the stories they tell. Over the five episodes, the story of Tom’s madness and

genius is revealed. He achieved many technical feats and innovations in building his

ship. But Sukanen’s neighbours found reasons to dislike him: his gruff demeanour and

violent outbursts – even when the violence was not initiated by Sukanen; his taste for

35

Schroeder was born in Germany and lives in British Columbia.

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